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My name is Cara and I am a book lover through and through! I do all things books at Appleseed Bookshop. I read, review, blog and am a published alt model. I also review for We Love This Book, Things and Ink and Starburst Magazine. Contact me if you would like a proof read and reviewed at thetattooedbook@yahoo.co.uk or follow me on twitter at twitter.com/thetattooedbook

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Bleed 03

In late 2012 I had a beautiful piece of work drop through my letterbox that went on to become one of my favourite reads of the year, this was The Bleed 02. The Bleed brings together writers, photographers, designers and illustrators to create a truly unique reading experience.

An anonymous actor, a man hired to watch him, a narrator and the man that watches over them all, Daniel.

The first chapter of The Bleed 03 throws us headfirst into the telephone conversation where the actor agrees to be Daniel, to play him as a role and attend a meeting with unnamed investors for a business opportunity that could change both their lives for ever. As the actor's real life fades into the background, the role of a lifetime takes over. Soon the lines are blurred and he can't be sure anything is what it seems. He goes to the narrator, desperate for someone to tell his tale but even this author is unsure if he is being told the whole truth.

This magazine is once again a thing of beauty to flick through and the first few pages of story are just as mesmerising. The Bleed 03 is full of twists, turns, misdirections, secrets and lies. By the end of it you won't know what's real for the characters or what's fantasy but this ambiguity is used in such a powerful way it keeps you completely hooked. I stormed through it in one morning and as soon as I finished I just wanted to start again to see what I might have missed the first time around. Just as enjoyable as The Bleed 02, The Bleed 03 has proved to be an incredible piece of work and I look forward to reading more from it's contributors in the future.

Read The Bleed online here.

For more information of The Bleed check out their website

Friday, 5 December 2014

Judge Dredd: Year One Omnibus by Matthew Smith, Michael Carroll and Al Ewing

Judge Dredd: Year One: Omnibus

We all know and love the stickler for the law that is Judge Dredd but most of us will be used to him in his graphic novel or movie format. The Year One Omnibus collects three novellas together to give us an insight into Judge Dredd's early years walking the beat of Mega City One.

The first story, City Fathers finds Dredd investigating the brutal murder of an informant whose telescope is left aimed at a well known drug dealers home. As whispers of a new drug spread across the streets, so does a wave of violent and unexpected suicides.

The force turns it's back on Dredd in Cold Light of Day when a criminal he could have executed but chose not to returns to wreak vengeance and tidy up some loose ends. Did Judge Dredd really make a mistake in his judgement, allowing a criminal to kill?

When Stader finds himself desperate for some quick money in Wear Iron he ends up breaking his own rules and going in on a job out of pure desperation. He's invited to assist in stealing the proceeds from a twisted eating competition at the failing Kool Her Infernodrome. He partners up with a old friend he doesn't trust any more, a man they just had released from a mental institution and a Judge...Judge Rico Dredd.

 With Dredd being such a vibrant character in the world of graphic novels I couldn't help but wonder how he'd come across in these novellas but after just a couple of pages it was clear to see Dredd's style is just as strong here. Dredd has always been a force to be reckoned with and these early stories give you a great insight into what and who made him what he is. Mega City One also plays a huge part in these stories which is bound to please any fan as it lives and breathes as strong as any of the living characters. Another reason to love these stories is the women, you can forget sexism here because the women just just as tough as the men (if not more so in some cases). Overall Judge Dredd: Year One Omnibus by Matthew Smith, Michael Carroll and Al Ewing was a fast, fun and action packed trilogy of stories that are sure to be loved by any Dredd fan.

Buy Judge Dredd: Year One Omnibus by Matthew Smith, Michael Carroll and Al Ewing from Amazon here.


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Kick-Ass 3 by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.

Kick-Ass: Part 3

Grab your tissues and get ready to fire your mourning cannons because Kick-Ass 3 is here. We all knew the saga had to come to an end but the big question is how?

With Mindy behind bars in a high security prison it's up to David and the other heroes to bust her out. After one botched attempt and varying levels of commitment from his team he decides more training is needed. He heads out on patrol and ends up taking a beating from a group of guys who are soon scared off by a woman in a car. Before he knows it David's in love with a nurse called Valerie, leaving him completely distracted from his duty to save Mindy.

Meanwhile Chris is slowly recovering in hospital when his Uncle Rocco appears on the scene. He's on a mission to get the charges against Chris dropped and get him trained up to be criminal crime lord son her never had. He's got the police in his pocket and a bad enough reputation to put his crazy plan in to effect but now he needs to convince the other local gangs that he means business and Hit-Girl could be exactly who he needs to prove that point.

I like to treat the Kick-Ass movies and graphic novels like completely different beasts. The movies are good fun but it's the work of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. that really got me hooked. As with the episodes that precede Kick-Ass 3, Mindy's character virtually leaps out of the page at you. She's a brutal force of nature but by god she's brilliant, her story wrapping up into a satisfying conclusion (no spoilers here). It's Chris that you really want to rage at during the first half of this book, too wrapped up with thinking with something other than his brain but once he bounces back he really becomes the hero you want him to be. This final instalment in the Kick-Ass trilogy is funny, sarcastic, violent and more importantly, insanely good fun to read. It's so sad to see it end but it's great that it goes out on such a high.

Buy Kick-Ass 3 by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. from Amazon here.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Butterfly Skin by Sergey Kuznetsov

Butterfly Skin

The Russian cult hit that became a best seller in the 1990s is now available in the UK.

The world of news is changing and as the public's acceptance of the internet increases so does their want for online news. Ksenia is one of the driving forces behind online journalism but even that doesn't guarantee her a pay rise. When she mentions it to her boss, he insists he can't do a thing unless she can come up with something new and exciting.

At the same time there's a killer loose on the streets of Moscow and he's targeted a number of young women already, torturing them and leaving them in a horrifying condition. Ksenia's plan is to create the first website fully dedicated to a killer, to help protect the public, allow them to raise concerns, collect data, maybe even catch them. But as the website grows in popularity even she wonders if she's helping or just supplying a killer with more exposure.

As both she and her website starts to get more exposure she starts to take a deeper look at her personal life. Ksenia's always 'played' and enjoyed being the submissive to a dominant partner but she's newly single and wonders if she'll ever find someone who'll understand her passions, especially when she doesn't quite understand them herself. Soon someone new does appear in her life but as she relishes in the control and pain, she wonders is she can relate to killer just a tiny bit too much.

Sex in novels is risky business, a book can be dismissed away into the realms of  'well it's just trying to be fifty shades of grey' in a heartbeat. PLEASE do not dismiss this book in that way because you will be doing both yourself and the book a injustice. This is sharp and intelligent psychological thriller that doesn't so much concentrate on the killer but on the woman who is making a career from his actions. The novel is also set in a fascinating but recognisable era where Russia is rediscovering itself politically and embracing new technologies. As the quote on the front reads, it is not for the faint hearted and details of the murders are grizzly, occasionally making uncomfortable reading. This however doesn't make it unpleasant reading, quite the opposite, this book is dark, gripping and Kuznetsov has a unique writing style that will leave you wondering why you're enjoying reading something so twisted quite so much.

Buy Butterfly Skin by Sergey Kuznetsov from Amazon here.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Mira Corpora by Jeff Jackson

Mira Corpora

At six he's lost and dangerously alone, vulnerable to the older children around him.

At eleven he has what could loosely be described a home with his Mother but as she gives in to the alcohol her outbursts become violent and he bears the brunt of her fury. He runs.

At twelve he is living in the woods among a group of broken youths just like him. He goes to see their oracle but even that isn't simple.

At fourteen he takes to the city, makes some friends and discovers a burnt out superstar.

At fifteen he is taken in by a moment of kindness and lets his guard down, only to be used and abused.

At eighteen he returns to the beginning.

Mira Corpora by Jeff Jackson (both the name of the author and the lead character) is possibly one of the darkest books I have ever read. After turning the final page you completely understand the tag line of  'a coming-of-age story for people who hate coming-of-age stories.' There are no happy endings, no innocent heartache or big ethical questions that would usually ink the pages of your average coming-of-age tale. Jeff (the lead character) is dragging himself up through his teenage years, bouncing from one soul destroying scenario to the next until he simply cannot take it anymore.

Jeff Jackson's writing is uncompromising and will occasionally leave the reader feeling quite uncomfortable, especially in his descriptions of burning bodies and hunter massacres but this all adds to the impact of the novel, compelling you to read more rather than put it down. Mira Corpora is compelling, disturbing and refreshingly unique. As with other pieces of work I have massively enjoy (Donnie Darko for example) I'm not sure I've even fully grasped this novel in one reading and can see myself re-reading it and seeing Jeff in a whole new light. If you embrace the unique and enjoy being pushed by the books you read then I genuinely cannot recommend Mira Corpora highly enough, I look forward to future work from Jeff Jackson.

Buy Mira Corpora by Jeff Jackson from Amazon here

Buy Mira Corpora by Jeff Jackson from Hive here

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo by Chris McDonnell

Adventure Time - The Art of Ooo

If you are a follower of my blog then you will be painfully aware of my obsession with the colourful cartoon greatness that is Adventure Time. With purse, jumper, leggings, a shelf of books and repeated Sunday morning viewings, I'm more then happy to stand up in a room of people and admit to being an addict. That being said, you can probably tell I was pretty excited for The Art of Ooo.

This beautiful, weighty tome starts with a lovingly written introduction from the Hollywood film director, writer and producer Guillermo del Toro:

'It is a landmark, a watershed, and, above all, it is my favourite flavor in the ice cream bin of our world. And like any good pint of ice cream, you cry puzzling tears of joy while you eat it - because it nourishes you and embraces you and drives you to hope, and because nothing - nothing - can be this good. But it is. ' - Guillermo del Toro

The Art of Ooo tells the tale of creator Pendleton Ward from discovering his passion for animated cartoons, to creating a short of Adventure Time for Nickelodeon and then on through the creative process of how the episodes we know and love have been made. This book contains over 300 pages absolutely packed with sketches, watercolours, storyboards and concept art.

The first thing to strike me when I opened up The Art of Ooo for the first time was the incredible amount of detail that has gone in to it and obvious love for the cartoon. The dust jacket's gorgeous but take it off and you're met with an equally stunning design straight onto the hardback beneath. Every single page is bursting with Pendleton Ward's incredibly unique work that will leave you grinning from ear to ear. Obviously Phinn and Jake are a massive part of this book but some of my personal favourite parts are the collections of character concept art, the mad cap designs of the weird and wonderful extras that make Adventure Time so individual.

This may go without saying but that wondrous beast that is Christmas is heading our way and if you're looking for something for an Adventure Time fan, THIS IS IT!


Thanks to the lovely people at Titan Books I have one copy of Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo by Chris McDonnell to give away. To enter this competition simply comment on this blog below or follow me on Twitter and retweet a competition tweet. This competition is open to UK residents only (sorry, it's a heavy book) and closes at midnight on the 16th of November 2014. Good luck!

Buy Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo by Chris McDonnell from Amazon here.

Buy Adventure Time: The Art of Ooo by Chris McDonnell from Hive here.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Storm by Tim Minchin, DC Turner and Tracy King


Tim Michin is a world famous musical comedian whose fan base continues to grow after sold out tours, DVDs and composing for the West End musical 'MATILDA.' In 2006 Tim started to perform a song called 'If You Open Your Mind Too Much Your Brain Will Fall Out (Take My Wife), over the years this mutated and updated in to what we now know as 'Storm.'

If you're one of the three million people who have viewed the animated short of Tim Minchin's Storm then you'll probably be more than aware of the idea behind the beat poem, animated video and now, graphic novel. Tim and his wife attend a friends dinner party and meet a woman they've never met before. He bites his tongue as she states 'You can't know anything! Knowledge is merely opinon'
but soon he's forced to say something as she waxes lyrical about the benefits of alternative medicine. Tim's opinions on psychics, Scooby Doo and the world in general follow.

 Storm is a fabulous and unique mix of poetry, humour, fact and philosophy, the beautiful art from DC Turner and Tracy King only adding to its impact. The introductions from both Neil Gaiman and Tim Minchin himself give you an enjoyable sneaky peak in to the poems history and how it came about. Storm is an absolute must read for any Tim Minchin fan and I'm sure this graphic novel will only add to his following.

Buy Storm by Tim Minchin, DC Turner and Tracy King from Amazon here.

Buy Storm by Storm by Tim Minchin, DC Turner and Tracy King from Hive here.